July 18th, 2024

Province extending Family Resource Networks program

By Steffanie Costigan - Lethbridge Herald Local Journalism Initiative Reporter on April 3, 2024.

The Government of Alberta has announced an increase of funding by $6.6 million for Family Resource Networks over a two-year timeline.

Family Resource Networks was first launched by Alberta Government in 2020 and has since provided supports improving children and youth well-being to ultimately reducing the number of children needing government care.

“When we design this program, we’re thinking of the young expectant mother in northern rural Alberta, who feels isolated from her peers and wants guidance and a helping hand, ” said minister of Children and Family Services Searle Turton on Tuesday.

The increase in funding of $6.6 million will allow Family Resource Networks additional increase of families access free prevention intervention supports to improve outcomes for families.

“Families deserve every opportunity to grow and thrive together. By continuing to support our Family Resource Networks, our government is helping more Alberta families access programs that will enhance their connection to each other, their communities, and their culture,” said Turton.

He said that more than 70 networks across Alberta work together in bringing services to over 100 different agencies and half of the rural communities have 18 specific targets for,”unique cultural and linguistic communities…

“This means accessing community services, and much needed support is easier than ever to be able to access in every corner of the province. Our government has had high hopes for this program, we want to make sure that we got it right.”

From 2022 to 2023 ,Family Resource Network served approximately 48,600 children and youth along with 32,000 caregivers.

There are 70 networks, including 35 in rural communities, and 18 specifically targeted to unique cultural and linguistic communities, including Indigenous, Francophone and multicultural communities.

Five of those networks serve Indigenous families in Lethbridge, Calgary and Edmonton.

Turton said Family Resource Network was evaluated three years ago to learn more on the successes and what needed improvement.

“We’re building on our previous investments to strengthen our networks in three key areas. The first area focuses on ensuring Indigenous children’s families have access to culturally appropriate supports and services wherever they are.

“Secondly, making sure networks have the training and capacity to respond to the needs of LGBT plus and gender diverse children and youth. Our third focus is all about enhancing intensive services to meet the rising demand for the supports,” he said.

Turton voiced his confidence in Family Resource Networks.

“I’m confident that these additional investments help thousands of young people, their parents and caregivers reach their full potential to our Family Resource Networks. All of our Children Family Services are so fortunate to have incredible, incredible partners like you to make this all possible.

“My staff and I will continue to support you so that you can focus on what matters most supporting children and families wellbeing and resiliency and helping Albertans become the best parents they can possibly be.”

“Bridges Family Programs knows positive, healthy relationships can make all the difference in the well-being of families, youth and children. With increased funding, we look forward to being able to help more families and communities grow together and reach their fullest potential,” says Lauren Fourrier, executive director, Bridges Family Programs Association of Southeastern Alberta.

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